The following list is a token of appreciation to all the awesome thinkers who write newsletters I highly recommend. These are content sources that I’ve been closely following for a few years, learned from them and applied their lessons in my own personal and business life.
I’m trying to keep a zero inbox (“try” being the key word here – I’ll often procrastinate replying to an email for an unpermitted long time), but, at the end of the week, the odds are I won’t leave unread any single one of the following newsletters.
If you happen to know any more similar mailing lists, please drop the links in the comments below.
P.S. This article was initially published in June 2018 and updated in October 2018.
1. Daily Stoic
Every afternoon I receive a nugget of stoic wisdom, just when I seem to need it most. On the website you’ll also find long articles with stoic reflections and exercises, together with interviews with stoic thinkers and leaders.
In the past years I’ve tried to keep a stoic state of mind – an ancient philosophy with principles that are timeless.
I probably should have started with Ryan Holiday‘s newsletter, since this is the one I’ve been subscribed to for a longer time than anything else. He sends a monthly reading list of what books he’s personally read and recommends. His newsletter was among the factors that motivated me to start Friday Read, so now I hope you understand why in every email I include a link of an article or any material related to him.
Ryan’s a media strategist and one of my favorite authors (he published 8 best-selling books by the time he was 31). I deeply admire him for his work, thinking process, values and how he’s educating the public. Thanks to Ryan I discovered stoicism and he’s also ‘guilty’ for most of the books I’ve read, right next to…
[The photo above was unashamedly taken from his Facebook page]
Brain Food from FarnamStreet Blog. A curated Sunday newsletter with content released that week on FarnamStreet Blog, together with book recommendations and articles curated by Shane Parrish, the creator of this project. This is also one of my favorite sources of brain-expanding knowledge.
I’ve mentioned Shane’s work so many times before that I’m hoping you’re already familiar with him. If not, drop whatever plans you had for today and delve into his work. Start here.
[photo stolen from Shane’s Facebook page]
What I enjoy most is that every few weeks he’ll invite an interesting thinker as a guest to curate his newsletter – something that I’ve been recently considering doing for Friday Read as well. One of his newsletters was curated by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia until 2016 and first digital head of state, for example – how awesome is that? (I think I forwarded that one to 11 friends or so).
Azeem Azhar is a strategist, product entrepreneur and analyst, currently working as the Senior Advisor for AI to the CTO of Accenture.
[photo stolen from Azeem’s About page]
5. Derek Sivers
20 years ago, he founded CD Baby, a company that helped indie artists distribute their music (you have to understand the context: this was happening back in the days when musicians were still dependent on record labels). He sold it 10 years later, after he either automated or delegated all the processes of the company, so he didn’t need to intervene in day-to-day activity. He donated all the $22 millions to charity and has been travelling the world ever since, writing and launching new, smaller projects. He’s currently working a few new books. My ‘Now’ page from the Menu above is part of one of his projects.
[copyright photo: Pat Shepherd, taken in 2014]
6. James Altucher – I’ve been following James for 8 years or so – I highly admire his fearless way to present his vulnerabilities and failures. James is (or was) an entrepreneur, investor, hedge fund manager, venture capitalist, author and podcaster – and a really good one, I should add. He’s able to squeeze some really personal and valuable insights out of his guests.
In the past, he’s founded 20 companies or so, invested in over 30, most of them failed in time, he’s had a few breakdowns and lost all of his savings multiple times, along with his marriages (he’ll soon be married for the third time). And he shares everything publicly in a transparent way.
James has put a lot of his soul on a plate, exposed for everyone to take a peek into it. You can start discovering him from here.
[pictured above: James and Ryan Holiday, photo stolen from James’ Facebook page]
Tim’s an entrepreneur, author and podcaster, known for his experiments on himself, and also for the transparent way he’s sharing his journey. As you probably know by now, I’ve read all of , even multiple times, and I’m a loyal listener of The Tim Ferriss Show, his podcast, where he talks to. I’d recommend it to anyone who plans to start a podcast – supposing you don’t already listen to it (it’s one of the world’s most popular podcasts and the first that has exceeded 200 million downloads).
Andra Zaharia, one of my best friends, recently started a weekly newsletter about decision making, called “How do you know?“. Together with it, she also started a podcast where she interviews guests on this topic.
So far she released two episodes: in the last one, she talked to Benji Hyam, from Growth and Convert, whose work I’ve been following for more than two years.
The first episode was with Eric Moeller, Director of Product Marketing and Andra’s altMBA coach (altMBA is Seth Godin‘s intensive online workshop designed for high-performing individuals who want to level up and lead).
I highly recommend both her newsletter and her podcast episodes – lots of lessons to be learned.
Andra’s a cyber security warrior – she’s working as the Marcom Manager of CyberGhost VPN provider, and she’s an altMBA alumnus.
9. Sol Orwell
Sol Orwell‘s newsletter – it’s actually a series of thoughts, personal stories and lessons learned from his experience. Sol’s been making money online for almost two decades, he’s the founder of Examine.com, the largest database on nutrition and supplements. I highly admire Sol for his no-bullsh*t approach – he’s honest and direct, and he’s also got a lot of lessons to share. When he speaks, you’d better listen.
Come to think of it, I first found out about Sol a few years ago from one of Benji Hyam’s newsletters, when he wrote about how Sol built a 7-figure business off of Reddit (see what I wrote above at #8).
I also recently had the chance to interview Sol for The CEO Library, where he talked about why he dislikes business books. It’s a small world.
If it would have been easier for me to travel to the North American continent, I would have attended Sol’s Charity Chocolate Chip Cookie Off events.
10. Taylor Pearson
Taylor‘s an entrepreneur and author, who writes about the future of jobs, thinking models, business strategies, blockchain technology, personal development and more. I only discovered him last year, thanks to Vladimir Oane, and I soon ended up binge devouring everything he ever wrote.
[the photo above is Taylor’s Facebook page main pic]
11. Writing Routines
Writing Routines is the third newsletter I’m mentioning today that was initiated by Ryan Holiday – and I swear I’m not getting paid for this. It’s simply that good. If you’re like me, fascinated to learn more about other people’s routines, you’ll probably enjoy this one. It’s about the habits & routines of those who make a living out of writing.
CreativeMorningsHQ – another awesome source of curated articles from around the web. I hope you already know about the CreativeMornings series of events – this is actually how I ended up subscribing to this newsletter, I wanted to keep up with their events in Bucharest, where I’m based.
13. Nate Green
Nate Green’s a blogger and fitness expert who sends extremely interesting (and personal) newsletters on topics related to how to take control of our day, improve focus, and other good habits that can make us less distracted.
Carmen’s one of my dearest and oldest friends of mine (and Andra’s – mentioned above). As her newfound passion for running evolved into something serious and she started competing and winning mountain trail marathons, she found herself attracted to nutrition, curious to understand how it affects her performance. Gradually, those around her started requesting her to help with their own food goals and, after completing a few courses, including Precision Nutrition, the best one there is in the world, she became a certified food coach.
Most people today just expect to be told what to eat and when to eat. They want shortcuts. They don’t want the burden of responsibility of actually understanding the whole context, how our bodies and minds and various other factors are correlated. They’re searching for the latest “hacks”, “tips” and “superfoods”. Well, don’t expect to get that from Carmen. You know the saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”? That’s kinda what she does. She doesn’t give other people meal plans that they *should* follow religiously for the next months, without caring if they’re fit for their lifestyles and goals. Instead, she teaches them to put things into perspective, make decisions that are healthy for them over the long term and understand why extreme measures aren’t sustainable.
Carmen will cut through noise and help you clarify how our bodies function and how you can achieve your long term goals. Not just in food related matters, but also in terms of what we drink (or don’t drink), sleep, timing those meals, and other small habits and routines that are nutrition related. Oh, and she does that without any of the technical words that don’t really help anyone (besides those “experts” who are insecure and just want to signal how much they know).
A few months ago, I visited her in Barcelona and lived together for a short time. While there, I encouraged her to take the leap and start her own mailing list about nutrition. And she did. Here’s one of the recent emails she sent, so you can form your own opinion if this is the kind of newsletter that’s fit for your needs: “So what should I eat? | Fit Tales #3” (and go here and subscribe afterwards, if you enjoyed it).
I’ve known Andrei for over a decade and our paths kept intersecting, until we started working closer and closer together. He’s a former high school colleague of mine, we founded the first Romanian collective blogs, and he even had the chance to witness my first public speaking failure… and my most recent one. (a few weeks ago we organized a workshop together on making and breaking habits). He’s also been my coach for the past year and a half – a new direction that he pursued after many years of entrepreneurship. Andrei has been the one who helped me accelerate my learning process, stop lying to myself and clarify what’s going on in my head.
Well, it seems that I also helped him accelerate a few processes of his own. Andrei recently started a mailing list where he was sending episodes of ZeroPlus, his new podcast about change strategies and how to improve ourselves a little bit every day. He was pondering to transform his newsletter into something bigger… and, thanks to my decision to close my personal newsletter, he took the leap.
If you subscribe to his weekly emails you’ll get to peek inside his mind and find out more about the lessons that he learned – and yes, that includes book recommendations (I should warn you though that he reads waaay more than I do). He’ll announce there any kind of events he organizes, including workshops that we’ll run together – some of these will be promoted only to those subscribed to his newsletter.
p.s. I forgot to mention: Andrei’s newsletter is in Romanian language – sorry, dear international friends.
Dan is a curator of ‘Strategy, digested’, a newsletter on business strategy, policy and entrepreneurship in the digital age. Here’s a sample of his newsletter (his emails are extremely long and filled with valuable content, and he only sends one every month).
Nicolas Colin is a cofounder & director of The Family, a company that nurtures entrepreneurs through education, unfair advantages and capital. Nicolas writes a newsletter with insights on entrepreneurship, strategy, finance and policy – with a focus on Europe. He’s also the author of “Hedge“, a book about reinventing the safety net in the entrepreneurial age (I highly recommend this one for entrepreneurs).
Am I allowed to add my own newsletters to the list? Every week I’m writing two emails to those subscribed to The CEO Library, the project I co-founded last summer together with Bobby Voicu, with books recommended by people who are considered among the best at what they do. I’ve interviewed more than 200 interesting people since starting this project on the subject of books that shaped their journey and lessons learned, so there’s a lot of wisdom in one place.
On Monday I’m sending interesting and inspiring content in all forms – from articles to books, podcasts or videos I recommend, together with my personal insights. It’s where I share most of the things I’ve learned from all the wonderful folks I’ve mentioned above. And on Fridays I’m writing about the non-fiction books I’m currently reading (I’m currently in the middle of a series about the best books I read in 2018).
I’ve started the newsletter only one year ago and, so far, more than 3,000 people have subscribed to it, growing only by word-of-mouth (as I did with my old personal newsletter, I automatically unsubscribe anyone who doesn’t open my emails for several weeks in a row).
Anything I’m missing out on?